Sign wars take over business storefronts in downtown Renfrew

The popularity of pun-laden sign wars has made its way to the town of Renfrew. It started at Ottawa Valley Coffee, calling out fellow local business Scott’s Shoes.

"It was something to the effect of, 'Hey Scott’s Shoes, your Velcro sneakers are a rip-off,'" says coffee shop owner Lisa Grison. "We thought you know what, why don’t we start this here? It will be a fun thing to bring all the stores and the community together."

Even as the new shop on the block, Ottawa Valley Coffee has not been afraid to take on the bigger players in town. Their current sign has called grocery chain No Frills into the sign wars.

Grison says she’s pleasantly surprised to have pulled in some of the box stores to participate.

"Hey No Frills," Grison reads off her sandwich board. "Lettuce just say we are Frill’d to invite you this thyme. The steaks are high, so we’re getting jalapeño business. Love OVC."

Up Raglan Street, Scott’s Shoes is having to fight the sign wars battle on multiple fronts.

"Well, you’ve got give the rebuttal back to Ottawa Valley Coffee," says Nathan Scott, manager of the footwear store. "Then we nominated The Warehouse and I saw Chown, Smith, and Scott Law Firm got us back again yesterday. So I have a feeling we may have to put some new signs up in the window shortly."

With a full front window and no stranger to signs, Renfrew Printing is not only participating in the friendly gesture, but also the place where many businesses are stocking up and having their signs prepared.

"A lot of businesses have been bringing us their sign verbiage and we’re putting it all together, and they’re sticking it in their windows and having fun with it too," says printing shop owner Jean Hughes.

Ahead of Step 1 re-openings across the province Friday, the business owners say the back and forth between shops has brought a boost in moral to the community.

"A lot of businesses have been quiet and it’s been something to keep them entertained as well," says Grison.

"I think it’s giving them something else to think about," adds Hughes. "Passerby’s are walking and looking at them and reading and laughing, and showing that they’re enjoying it."